Real Estate Market

Featured Listing

Featured Listing

For Sale: $219,000

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Highlands County Market Trends

The Market is Hot but My Home is Still For Sale

Across the country, most real estate markets are experiencing very strong sales when compared to recent years. Because of this, the overall news being reported about the real estate market is of rising prices, bidding wars, houses selling for more than the list price and in record time. Meanwhile, your home has been on the market for six months with only four showings and virtually no interest.  

Why isn’t your home sold while your neighbor had six showings in 24 hours with three offers presented? When you are selling your home, there are three critical components that you must consider to ensure your home is presented perfectly for the current market.  

  • Condition-This component is definitely the most challenging of the three. Your home needs to be in good shape, well-maintained, decluttered and ready to show from the first day it is listed. In the current market, many buyers are having to wait for homes to come on the market that meet their needs. If your home is not ready to list, wait until it is before you do so. It needs to have great curb appeal so that anyone riding by won’t be deterred from it as well as photograph nicely so those looking online will want to schedule an appointment to take a closer look. Most buyers look at homes online to determine if they want to schedule an appointment to see the home in person so if your home isn’t appealing in its photographs, that will decrease the number of showings you can expect.  
  • Price-Price is relative to the most recent sales that are comparable to your home but it must reflect the current condition of your property. Determining the price is critical as a high price will drive buyers away and a low price will cost you money. Your agent should have completed a CMA (comparative market analysis) prior to listing your home. The CMA will review recent sales as well as current inventory to determine the most likely sales price of your home. Don’t be tempted to list your home at a higher price thinking you can negotiate with the buyer or reduce the price later. Homes that are priced high to start with and reduced later sell for less than those that are priced correctly to start with.  
  • The last critical component of your home is location. This is the one element that can’t be changed so it is important that your home is priced to accommodate for any positive or negative impact the location may have on it.  

Now that you know what it takes to prepare your home to sell, give me a call and let’s discuss the reasons your home hasn’t sold. 

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home

Image courtesy of acmstaining/ 


Why Mortgage Interest Rates Matter So Much When Buying a Home

When you are buying a home, you may think the price of the home is the most important part of the equation but think again. The number you should pay the most attention to is the interest rate. That doesn’t mean price isn’t important because it is but the amount of interest you pay on the home could be almost as much as the price of the home depending on your interest rate 

Before we go any further, let’s clarify the difference in cost vs. price. The price is what you pay for the home when you purchase it. The cost is what you pay for the house when you add up all your monthly mortgage payments. Therefore, the cost will be relative to the interest rate you pay on your mortgage loan. 

Because your monthly budget is a fixed amount when you purchase a home, the larger the portion of your housing budget that goes toward interest, it will reduce the amount of your budget that is left over to cover the principal of the loan and in turn reduce the amount you can spend on a home.  

For example, if you purchase a $300,000 home with a 20% down payment at an interest rate of 4.36%, for 30 years, you will pay $190,618.39 in interest over the life of the loan. If interest rates rise to 5%, you would then spend $223,813.88 in interest. Unfortunately, interest rates are expected to continue rising as the year progresses getting close to 5% by the end of 2018.  

I am definitely not saying that you should not buy a house if interest rates go up because real estate is still one of the best investments you will ever make but the sooner you buy a house, the more money you will save in interest. Home prices are also continuing to appreciate in many markets, which will drive up both your price and cost.  

Be responsible about making payments on loans and credit cards to maintain a good credit score as that will impact the interest rate you get. Don’t feel like you have to be an expert on the real estate market. Call or email me anytime you have a question and I will help you understand the current real estate market.  

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about buying or selling a home.

Image courtesy of Michael D Martin/ 




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While on the Move

My FREE Mobile App offers a dynamic map of Highlands County Real Estate which offers you customized searches that interest you and so much more.

Click here to download the app now and start looking for your next home. 


Find it in the App Store for Your SmartPhone

5 Simple Chores You Can Do Yourself

When you own a home, maintenance is important to prolong the life of your systems while taking care of your investment. There are many tasks that require a professional but with a little time and effort, even an unskilled homeowner can take care of a variety of home maintenance tasks without having to call the handyman again. Make plans for your next free weekend or even just an afternoon to tackle a few items from your to do list.  

  • Keep your gutters clear of leaves and debris. Overfilled gutters can cause lots of damage if you don’t keep them clear of leaves and other debris. Filled gutters can prevent water from running away from your away and cause damage in a variety of ways including roof leaks, rotted wood and insect infestations. There are also gutter guard systems you can install that will help keep your gutters from gathering as much debris in them.  
  • Change your air filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations for your system. This will extend the life of your system and help prevent unnecessary breakdowns. When you are changing air filters, check other filters too such as refrigerators or water filtration systems.  
  • Regularly clean your carpets to help lengthen the life of them as well as eliminate dirt and germs from your home. Your shoes carry a lot of dirt into your home even if you wipe your feet before you come inside. Routine cleaning will help minimize the amount of dirt left in your home. It’s easy to call a professional to do this but renting a machine from a local hardware or grocery store and investing a few hours of your time can save you a good bit of money and still give you good results. If you want to make things a little easier, grab a friend and do it together. Two people can make the work fly by and can you can split the cost of the machine and help each other do the cleaning.  
  • Vacuum your refrigerator coils. Built up dust on your coils can cause your refrigerator to work overtime and use more energy than necessary. A few minutes of your time can save you more than $100 a year in energy savings because your refrigerator will run more efficiently.  
  • Add or update weather stripping on your doors. Doors that don’t have adequate weather stripping allow air to escape. With a few supplies and a little time, you can correct this issue and see a decrease in your energy usage right away.  

Start with these five simple chores and you will see some immediate results. It can be very gratifying to know that you are personally involved in the care of your home.   

Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and/or help you determine the value of your home.  

Image courtesy of 123switch/ 

Client Testimonials

Knowledgeable and Professional

We would like to thank one of your agents Maureen Cool, for the knowledgeable and professional way she represents you and her clients. Maureen is a definite asset to your office and she displays a unique energy in the handling of real estate. Maureen always kept us informed on the purchase of our property in Sebring, FL. Our closing went very smoothly and there were no surprises at the closing. Again, thank you for your assistance.”

Jerry and Patricia Sinkler, Sebring, FL

Listened to Our Concerns

I loved that fact that you returned my calls promptly, you always let me know when you would be unavailable. You were not pushy or too aggressive. We always felt you had our best interests at heart. You listened and you did a great job!”

 Kathryn Gavin, Searing, FL

Proactive and Accommodating

We decided at the last minute to look at lake houses in the Lake Placid area. The weekend we had available would be the only time we could be in Lake Placid for several months. Our Local RE/MAX Realtor made several phone calls to Lake Placid/Sebring Realtors hoping to find one to help us and you were the only one who said yes without hesitation! You showed us several homes and while none worked out, you developed such a keen sense of what we needed that we later purchased a home sight unseen. We were very pleased with your service and would definitely use you again as well as refer you to others in the future. In fact we told our local realtor that you should be her referral source for the Lake Placid/Sebring area.”
Joe & Mary Lawrence, Wellington, FL




For the uninformed, blogging is hitting the Internet today and making a real impact!

What is a blog? An easy explanation of this is a WEB LOG or a journal on the web. It’s a place where folks can “voice” their thoughts, share ideas, or comment on those of others. 

Highlands County Florida now has such a blog where new items of interest will be posted and comments can be made. Topics range from those related to real estate and community highlights to local events of interest or anything personal or business related that might be perceived as worthwhile information for public knowledge, discussion and/or use. 

It’s even possible to subscribe to a blog of interest and receive text updates on your iPod! Check out the latest updates for the Highlands County Real Estate Blog:   

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Contact Information

Photo of Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS Real Estate
Maureen Cool, CRS, CIPS, RSPS
RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South
Sebring FL 33870
Toll Free: 1 888 243-COOL (2665)
Fax: 863-385-5897

Maureen Cool * RE/MAX Realty Plus
809 US 27 South, Sebring, Florida 33870
Office: 863-385-0077 X215
Direct: 863-873-7243
Fax: 863-385-5897



Maureen Cool of RE/MAX Realty Plus offers real estate services to buyers, sellers, relocation's in the Highlands County real estate area.

Including Polk County, Hardee County, Okeechobee County, Desota County and Glades County.

Whether you are looking for luxury, investment, second home, commercial, bank owned, foreclosures properties Maureen Cool and The Cool Team are your real estate professionals for the entire Central Florida area.

Maureen Cool is your Luxury Home Expert in Highlands County. 
She can assist you with your Sebring, Avon Park and Lake Placid real estate needs. 



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Kim Hughes Real Estate Virtual Assistant


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